Feds approve disaster relief for oyster industry

APALACHICOLA | Apalachicola Bay and Florida’s oyster industry are going to get some financial assistance from the federal government.
 
State and federal elected officials said Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Commerce has approved $6.3 million in disaster assistance funding.
 
Gov. Rick Scott said the money can be used to help the restoration of Apalachicola Bay and assist affected oystermen.
 
Last year, federal officials declared a fishery disaster for oystermen in the Gulf Coast. The collapse of the oyster industry followed a drought that reduced freshwater into the bay.
 
The state’s agriculture agency found the 2012 oyster harvest to be the lowest in two decades, dropping from 430 to 64 oysters per square meter. The historically low harvest affected an estimated 2,500 bay jobs.
 
Before production collapsed, the bay supplied 90 percent of the state’s oysters and 10 percent across the country.
 
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